“Ordinary people with extraordinary stories…”
“A dream without a plan is just a wish” ― Katherine Paterson, The Invisible Child
About a decade ago I had a dream – living overseas, working for an international relief organization, traveling, and writing. I had no plan, and no confidence that I could ever create a plan, so it essentially was just a wish. I had no idea at that time how I would ever actually make it happen.
And then three years ago I was faced with losing my job at the same time I faced losing a dear friend to cancer. It made me realize that life is short and it was time to turn those wishes into dreams. So I made a plan and I ended up right where I should be.
Last week I ran across an article, “Travel Plans for 2017 – the Next Epic Adventure” by a fellow blogger Jayne Edmondson of Blue Planet Nomads. My first reaction was “Holy crap! Now THAT’S a plan! Antarctica! Trans-Mongolian Railway! Africa!” That stuff is no longer just a wish for Jayne and her husband, it’s an actual plan! They’ve got big dreams and they’re making it happen!
Inspired by Jayne, I sat down to create my own “Travel Plan for 2017 – the Most Amazing Adventures Ever” and I failed miserably. My travel dreams are still wishes at this point, partly due to my serious “commitment issues”.
So, I think we all can learn a lesson from Jayne:
How to create a plan and make epic dreams actually happen!
First, a personal question: How did you meet your husband? I left the UK in January 1998 and backpacked my way to and then around Australia and ended up in Melbourne a year later, to take up a 6 month IT contract with Australia’s largest telco company. I met Vaughan through one of my work colleagues and we became friends.
When the contract ended I took off again for more travels in South East Asia and worked in Perth for a while before returning to Melbourne in early 2000. This is when I finally settled down to a full time job and to spending more time with Vaughan as we found we had so much in common with our love of the great outdoors and adventure. We later married in 2003
How did you choose the name “Blue Planet Nomads”? (I love the tagline “You’re never too old for adventure”!) Good question! I spent quite a while trying to figure out a name, I looked at what others had chosen. I knew I wanted something with “Nomads” as it was a good description of what we are about. Our Blue Planet is what we love to roam so the name Blue Planet Nomads was born. The tag line is more of a message to say “just because we are over 40 doesn’t mean to say we are too old for backpacking and adventure!”
Being over 50, I totally agree!
You’ve already done one round-the-world adventure trip in 2013. What was your route on that trip? Our route took us in a clockwise direction starting in China through to Hong Kong then to Malaysia – Nepal – Sri Lanka and back through South East Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines). We then took a direct flight from Manila to San Francisco where we stopped and spent a couple of weeks with a friend.
Next leg was South America for three months (Ecuador – Peru – Northern Chile – Bolivia and back to Peru) It was then back to the States via New York and onto Europe with stops in Iceland, England, Netherlands, France and Germany. We then flew to Nairobi, Kenya and jumped on an overland truck for a 42-day adventure through Eastern and Southern Africa finishing in Cape Town. Our last leg was to take us back to Australia via stops in Singapore and Bali! (Trip details here…)
I planned the route months in advance to work in with the best seasons to visit and also find the best routes for flights so as to keep the cost down.
Did you learn anything on that trip that will help you in planning your 2017 epic adventure? We have learnt that we need to slow down and immerse ourselves more into the places we visit. I had a year sabbatical from work so wanted to maximize the time off and see all the places that were on our bucket list (our bucket list was big!) It came at a cost as 7 months in we became very tired and jaded and wasn’t enjoying our travels so much, I even became ill after our Inca Trail trek as I was so run down and tired.
The longest we spent anywhere was three weeks and that was in Quito in Ecuador and I wasn’t even fond of the place but we were there to learn Spanish. For the next trip we endeavor to travel more slowly and spend more time in places incorporating more “doing nothing” days.
That’s such good advice. I love those “do nothing” days where you can enjoy sitting at a cafe, sipping a latte and people-watching!
What’s the planned route for 2017? Basically we will fill in the gaps of the places we didn’t get to last time. Our first three months will be spent back in South America visiting Argentina, southern Chile, Uruguay and a 12 day cruise to Antarctica. We will then return to Australia for a month or so as we need to get visas for Russia and Mongolia and it’s a chance for a rest.
Our next leg will take us to Japan, South Korea and a flight to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia where we will spend 2 or more weeks exploring this amazing country. We will then pick up the Trans-Mongolian for our journey across Russia and to Finland. We then plan to spend a few months slowly making our way through Europe starting with Eastern and heading back to Southern Africa for two months from October to December and back to the UK to spend Christmas with my family.
(You can read more about the 2017 plans here…)
I’m so jealous of the Trans-Mongolian train trip! Can’t wait to read your stories!
Which chapter of that epic adventure are you most excited about? I would be lying if I didn’t say all of it!! But the standouts would have to be Antarctica, who wouldn’t be excited about this once in a lifetime destination, it’s a world away from anywhere else. Finally visiting Japan after all the years of wanting to go. Experiencing Mongolia’s wilderness and local tribes people. The Rail journey across Russia which has always been high on Vaughan’s bucket list. Returning to Africa, I love wildlife and Africa is wildlife heaven and this time we will not only be observing animals in their natural environment but also have the opportunity to work with them as we have chosen to volunteer with White Lions and Velvet Monkeys. Immersing ourselves in Europe’s history and culture we are both very excited about that.
You’re currently studying travel and tourism. What kind of work do you hope to do within that field? I would love to work with in either adventure travel, wildlife and nature travel or travel in Africa. My passion is nature and wildlife so if I could find a job sharing my passion with others and helping them achieve their holiday dreams then it wouldn’t feel like just “a job”. I’m hoping while we are away I can get a better idea of what I would really like to do and where I would like to be.
Any tips or advice for people who wish they could do something as amazing as your epic journey but aren’t sure how to make it happen? I have a favourite saying “You can always earn back money but you can never earn back time” You can fulfill a dream you just need to be disciplined and motivated to make sacrifices to plan and save for your goal.
Budgeting is the key, cutting back on spending, eliminate expensive habits like that daily take out coffee and learning to live more frugally is how we achieved our goals. There are plenty of excellent long term traveler blogs out there that tell you how you can plan and save, even I will be writing a post soon on how we achieved it not only once but twice!
Sounds like a dream trip with an actual plan! I look forward to your stories from the road!
Check out Blue Planet Nomads.com to follow
Jayne and Vaughan on their round-the-world adventure in 2017!